tv [untitled] March 16, 2011 10:00pm-10:30pm PDT
with 10 beautiful new windows. so, naively, we expected that we could do the same. we did not anticipate the absolute opposition and obstruction of our project that was to follow. we had numerous meetings and reviewing plans, to no avail. it became obvious that this -- that ms. wuerfel has no intention of allowing us to improve our home. but years later, i am at the board of appeals. is it reasonable for a homeowner to have to justify a wanting windows in their home to provide ventilation, which open and close, and to comply with fire safety codes? is it reasonable that we should want our children's home environment to be more free? none of these factors are important to ms. wuerfel.
they don't need to be. they affect our family life on a daily basis. the appellant has made it abundantly clear by her past and present actions that she will appeal and obstruct any project we propose, no matter how detrimental the actions may be to the property she claims deserves special attention because of its historic nature. i fail to see how preventing whether proving can be -- weatherproofing can be found protective. none of our work affects the historic character. of the 17 complaints filed by the appellant, and others -- a number specifically affect things we wish to correct. missing windows, broken window, sky like letting in line. the window was not left open. it did not close.
october, broken windows, broken skylights. january, and save building. november, building waterproofing is compromised. each permit we have applied for, she has appealed. this is beyond reason. this process is not costing her one penny. financially, it is crippling for us. the financial burden is placed on us as homeowners appears to be part of the attraction. this was clearly evident when she filed a vacant and abandoned building complete on our property. what satisfaction as the $900 fine imposed on a skipper? we have located our home at 2008 for 28 months because of the poor condition and mold formation. we returned to the same condition because we have no other option. last year, the permit was appealed to this board because
of a request for new dormers. this year, our rufen request does not include any dormers, yet here we are again. no matter what we try to do, she will oppose it. i would like to refer to a letter in her own grief, dated 2009, where she states she witnessed the building of an illegal addition sometime in 1983, and an illegal and dormer in the attic in the mid-1980s. here are the photos. they are 25 years old. why did she wait 25 years to file a complaint? the ink was not dry on my roofing permit before she filed an appeal, yet it took 25 years to appeal the addition of a dormer? why? this is blatant discrimination against me as the current homeowner and manipulation of a civic authority for her own satisfaction. the areas of our home she
opposes are two out of our three bedrooms. we are a family of five. my son's sleep in the attic area, with the dormer. without the existing door, my children cannot stand up in their bedroom. these areas have existed for 25 years and are a central part of our home. as stated in her brief, the appellant has many issues with dbi and the planning department. she has every right to seek policy changes. however, she does not have the right to hold my home and my family hostage in pursuit of her urban planning ideals. excuse me. it is unreasonable and punitive to allow remedial repairs to my home to go unaddressed. i believe it is my right to maintain my home in a safe and habitable manner. during the public comments segment, ms. wuerfel spoke as a self-appointed member of sunset families. she spoke with concern for
families' well-being. considering what she has done, i find her comments shallow and hypocritical to say the least. thank you for your time. >> thank you. we will hear next from the department. >> good evening, commissioners. department of building inspection, san francisco. all i can say is do you have any questions for me or for our department? vice president garcia: how many of the allegations having to do with illegal work need to be addressed? if any? >> excuse me. there are numerous allegations. we did issue some notices of
violation for maintenance issues. i think at that point the owner did apply for permits to address the maintenance issues. that would have been replacement of skylights and to do some exterior maintenance and a roof replacement permit. i think both of those permits are under review here tonight. commissioner hwang: is there any validity to the complaint that the sky light above the bathroom was problematic based on the fact that it is on a property line? i might have misunderstood the argument. >> it could be. as a matter of policy, it is really hard to say when that skylight was put in. if it is close to the property line, it could be a problem. howev, there are some negations.
the fire wall could be extended upper the property line to protect that skylight or to protect a neighbor's home from transfer of fire. in that particular case, i am not really sure. i would have to take a look at the actual situation there. vice president garcia: do you have a copy of ms. wuerfels's brief? would you turn to page 4? did you have the opportunity to read this? >> i did. i have not gotten to page four. my pages are not numbered. vice president garcia: it would be the fourth page in. >> all right. vice president garcia: it is headed by "history of
unpermitted work." commissioner hwang: we are probably not looking at the same thing. >> ok. vice president garcia: let us take one of the permits to read it-roof, everything but the dormer. either the dormer does not need to be re-roofed, or it is illegal. could that be taken care of prior to this permit issue? should other work the part of all these permits so that all these problems, if they are in fact problems, could be addressed and taken care of experts for example, preventing the stove in the kchen below the dormer. i think there is the proper
height for the venting pipe to be. ms. wuerfel maintains it is foreshortened because otherwise it would be in front of the windows, things like that. all those issues -- my feeling right now is that this board -- we will hear testimony and all that, but it almost seems we need some definitive statements from dbi as to the legitimacy or lack of legitimacy of some of these claims, for the benefit of the permit holder and the benefit of the codes of the city, so that when work starts all issues having to do with the house are proper. >> we did request all documents from our records management on this property. we are going to have a look at that and see what was permitted
in the past and what may be was not. maybe we can substantiate some of these crimes. we will write a comprehensive notice of violation and hopefully can resolve this whole issue. vice president garcia: one thing that would concern me -- the rainy season seems to be for the most part over. are there emergency issues that need to be addressed? can we carve that out and see those are taken care of? it seems those have been ongoing for a long time. maybe when we meet again on this, assuming we end up with a continuance, that somebody from the department will be prepared to go over these. >> if this matter is continued, we will have a little more time to collect our documents and review what we have as far as permits and past notices of violation.
commissioner fung: i think when i went through all the previous novs, there are some that relate to non-maintenance issues. >> correct. commissioner fung: and we went through in previous appeal quite a bit of effort in looking at the permit history and the black within it with respect to the existing building. you indicated there were a number of novs related purely to the maintenance issues. >> i have one in front of me here that was given on january 7, 2010 for broken windows and
skylight in various locations. the building apparently vacant and some windows open and exposed to the elements. rain, water, gutter broken, not connected. commissioner fung: based on your review, do the correlate to these permits? there was a permit taken out to comply with the notice of violation i just read. it was about two weeks after, i believe, a permit taken out to address those particular items. that is one of these permits that is being appealed tonight. commissioner fung: how about the other two? >> i am not sure if we wrote them up for having a roof that needed replacement or
maintenance. it is pretty normal for us to allow someone to waterproof the building. it looked like we even went to the effort of excluding some part of the building that may have been constructed without a permit. but for the balance of the building, we would allow them to install new whether proofing -- new weatherproofing. with respect to the plumbing permits, it looks like that was to replace shower and sink of the same kind. plumbing permits do not normally come with any kind of drawing, so we do not know graphically which bathroom we are talking about in the house.
i think there was something about a similar replacement on the same permit. it is really difficult to determine if we are issuing a permit for replacing the plumbing fixtures in a part of the house that has not been permitted. commissioner peterson: you are not saying the permits at issue were grounded in error, are you? >> i think these are pretty normal permits for us to issue. we would issue a maintenance permit. we want to encourage people to maintain their property, and issue permits for that type of work. vice president garcia: if there is an illegal structure to the rear, the patio door that is going to be replaced, you would
not want to give someone a permit to replace a door at the rear of an illegal structure, right? >> that is true. i think in terms of the roof, i think that is why the dormer was excluded, because it is a part of the building that is under question. vice president garcia: but it seems as though we, everybody involved, would want to solve this burden. certainly, it is a burden on the permit holder. if they are going to re-roof, and maybe we do not want to step in and make decisions for someone else, but for them illr that has to be removed, that is going to affect the roofing.
or am i not thinking? >> if somebody has a roof that is leaking, i do not know what the percentages are we are talking about, if that dormer is a huge percentage of the building. that permit could be problematic. if the dormer is a lesser part of that structure, and really they are talking about brie roofing -- re-roofing the major part of the building, we would go along with that. if it came to pass that the bomber needed to be removed, we can deal with that issue when it arises. vice president garcia: i don't want to be argumentative, but it seems we are giving them an added expense if it turns out later they have to move the dormer. it would be reasonable to deal with those types of issue prior to giving them a permit.
>> when my inspector was out there, he determined it -- he thought that addition could have been done 30 or 40 years ago. he was not really sure. it was hard to say. it is possible it could be legalized. if they went through the proper channels with the planning department and have proper drawings made up, it is possible that could keep it. >> thank you. we can move into public comment, if there is any public comment on this item.
>> this is joe donohue. vice president garcia: we have a heavy calendar. i am going to restrict to 21 minute. >> thank you. i do not know the homeowner, but this case is an outrageous. but we have is a homeowner who is living in the building that obviously needs repair, and you have a lady next door to her who is doing guerrilla warfare on her. she is caught between a rock and a hard place. the reality is that if you have a notice of violation on a building, you cannot get a new permit. this lady next door knows that. she is taking advantage of the system to make a living hell for a family. why, we don't know. she needs to see a shrink. your function as commissioners is to help a property owner out who obviously bought a building. there was illegal work may be done 30 years ago.
to now use that, she does not want the solution. she once the problems. just tell the homeowner to finish out her building. thank you. >> thank you. any other public comment? >> i do not know these folks either, but i am so horrified by this story i cannot even tell you. if i told the story to anybody who was thinking about moving into san francisco and purchasing a home, i would tell them not to do it. it is horrifying and i hope you will do the right thing for the homeowner. thank you very much. >> thank you. any other public comment? vice president garcia: anyone
else who intends to speak, please step forward so we do not have the delay between speakers. >> i am linda yakabuchi. please remember there are two homeowners involved here. we are a country of laws and everyone can expect to be treated equally. it appears the building code is being selectively applied to this property. i support revoking a permit and fixing these longstanding problems. the action will correct a wrong that just continues on and on. i have been here at the other hearings and i am surprised that the other owners never try to make the previous work legal. why does the law not apply to them? why does the notice of violations not have to be fixed before they can do the work? to me, this is outrageous and another piece of politics and
city policy that really needs some work. so thank you so much. >> thank you. any other public comment? seeing none, we will move into rebuttal. vice president garcia: four minutes would be sufficient. is that reasonable? thank you. >> i would like to refer you to my exhibit 3. the documents here came to me from you, the board of appeals. it is right there, august 4, 2010. this is the cover note. we have already been through this mill of having dbi go through and identify all the known permits. the only reason i was able to make these allegations was because i had the documents.
if dbi calls these permits and does not recall and has to start doing it again, that is another problem. the issues that have been alleged to me i do not want to comment on, other than the fact i am not guilty of all the things i have been charged with. what i have tried to do is to respect the fact that i believe that the building department is in charge of enforcement. i never registered any complaints on this property until 2009. i did so because the building was vacant. when it is vacant and my neighbor said, "who was in their -- there?" there was not maintenance of the security of the building. the please advise me to continue to keep them informed because it wanted a safe neighborhood. the main thing is to remember
that we have evidence that the permits are not here. there are structures that are clearly built. i took the photographs. the building is 25 years old. they are not 45 years old. i have shown you these pictures. these are within recent memory. the fact that the building department has not done anything about legalizing them is very disturbing. i will be back here until i get resolution on these documents, on these permits that have not been issued. i am surprised that the building continues to evade any kind of review. the comments from the kitchen remodel on the actual report simply says case closed. nobody even came out. i can see that there is some help i need to give the building
department so they can enforce the rules, and to at least have the notices of violation addressed. i believe that is part of the building code, and i would like to make sure that just because it is inconvenient that the owners have to address this. again in my statements, they were fully aware of what they were buying and what they had, and what was legal and what was not. to choose to not fix these items i think is inappropriate. i would also like to remind everyone that there are rules to the game that are published by the building department. i am surprised that something as important as "requires plans for the new skylight" is something that has not been required. there are other issues that have come upon in these permits, like with the nov for the sewer. this is online.
this is how i know what is going on. i cannot understand why somebody at the permit issuing does not also say we had better take care of that. thank you very much for your consideration. i look forward to having -- the building needs to be brought up to code so that i personally will benefit from having a properly managed and compliant building. i have been an aggrieved party. i just need to let you think about that. thank you. >> ms. galvin. >> i said earlier in my brief that in 2006 we had plans to add a vertical and horizontal addition to meet the growing needs of our family. at that time, we began plants.
when i talked about the meetings and reviews and drawings, i was referring to this. that still stands today. that addresses every single issue with our home, from the basement to the chimney. there are multiple problems. no matter what we suggested, our first architect resigned because he said for mental health reasons he could not deal with it. every single thing. at one point, we moved 17 windows from a drawing. another set of issues. it does not matter what we do. we did not add any skylights. believe me. you would have photographs if we did. we just thought we would do whatever you tell us to do. we'll put some money notices of violation on the house. i would gladly tomorrow repair the house. but just let us do it.
she will not let us do it. the dormers we might have to remove -- we know it was built 25 years ago because she attracted and states it was 25 years ago. i did not even live in america 25 years ago. if i knew then what i knew now, i would not have touched the house with a barge pole. i naively saw the house next door, an identical house with a third floor addition. why was i to assume that i with -- that the same criteria would not apply to my house? when i assume as a homeowner -- every other house on our block has in addition. the historic house next door to us. why would i assume my home would be any different? the only reason is different is because ms. wuerfel chooses it is different. i will do anything you tell me to do. i want a roof over my children's heads. i no longer want an extension. i would move out of that house tomorrow, but nobody would buy
that house. nobody would touch it because of this history. we did move out. we moved back in because we had no choice. money does not grow on trees. the cannot afford it. we just want a roof over our heads. we want toilets that flush. i am sorry. i do not know what else to say. tell us what to do and we will do it. we are trying to do it. last year, the big issue with the new roof was the dormers. we could not replaced farmers on a historic building. that was the big issue. there was no issue of the fact that one was illegal there so you could not re-roof. she focused entirely on the addition of new dormers. that is not an issue on this permit, so now there is another permit. part of the house is illegal. you cannot re-roof it. to me, this is punitive. you're telling me i cannot have a roof because it was built in
whenever? i do not know what to do. if i could sell this house in the morning i would. nobody would buy it from me. the other option is to give it back to the bank. i am not prepared to lose everything because i happened to buy a house with a neighbor who for whatever reason feels she can control my life and every aspect of it. thank you. would you like to see this? this is the plan from 2007 that we have submitted. that is still on file with the planning department today. vice president garcia: that will be part of the record. >> thank you. >> one point i would like to bring to your attention isat